What Happened at Cirque’s KA, from A Thoughtful Tone


After reading the piece this last week from Alexandra Berzon on Sarah Guillot-Guyard‘s passing in the accident at Cirque du Soleil’s KA, there needed to be less frustration in my head towards why we always end up getting the bloody end of the media.  From Indiana’s high school stage collapse to the Sugarland disaster at the Indiana State Fair, to numerous accidents and disasters across the world in our industry… unless it’s an article about how much death or blood happened at certain accident, a piece of advertising, or an article that only reaches our audience in industry trade publications, we really don’t get that much good press.  In those instances, it’s great to have writers like Kevin Mitchell in our business, because he’s able to take confusing and angering data and numbers and turn it into categorized emotions that we can all read peacefully, around 120/75 beats per minute.

Thanks for writing this, Kevin.  From Kevin Mitchell’s Stage Directions article, which you need to read whether you’re in Entertainment or not:

What they discovered was that during Guillot-Guyard’s high-speed exit up and off the platform (which was a designed part of the show), she came into contact with the underside of forestry scenery. That sent a force up the cable, which went from the cable through a pulley wheel across to a second smaller pulley wheel–at which point it should have gone down to the winch. The winch had a no-load protector on it that, had it seen that force, would have shut the winch down. In this instance, though, what happened was that final pulley wheel collapsed forward. As it collapsed forward it allowed the cable to jump out of the wheel and find the sharp edge of the pinch point where that equipment had collapsed. The edge cut the cable and Guillot-Guyard fell.

Pearson wants to be very clear about this sequence of events “because I heard several things in the early stages that had been reported: Sarah had been traveling faster than everyone else, she slipped free of her safety gear–none of that was true,” Pearson says. “The cable did not snap, the harness did not fail, none of the connections failed. The cable was cut because it was able to jump out of its pulley wheel and find the sharp edge it was never supposed to have seen.”

Head on over to Stage Directions now and read the rest of this piece.  Go on, check it out.